HONOLULU — Playing for the first time in two months, Jordan Spieth arrived at the Sony Open in Hawaii not quite knowing what to expect out of his game and with the week serving as, admittedly, something of a test run.
It ended up being a short one.
Spieth shot a four-under 66 on Friday but missed the cut by a stroke, finishing his week at Waialae Country Club at one under and with plenty of questions about his golf still left to be answered.
“I didn't play well, but it was kind of trying to find what I need to work on to then dial it in,” said Spieth, who got married in the offseason and hadn’t played since missing the cut last November in Mexico. “It’s easy on the driving range leading in sometimes.”
On the course was another matter.
Spieth hit just half his fairways for the week and his ball-striking wasn’t much better, particularly with his long irons. He ranked outside the top 100 in the field in greens hit and proximity to the hole.
“I had three or four different golf swings throughout the week on the golf course,” Spieth said. “That’s unusual. I don't think I've ever played with more than one kind of swing feel.”
His stroke with the putter wasn’t sharp, either. Spieth ranked in the middle of the pack in strokes gained/putting, and he made just four putts outside 10 feet for the week.
Still, the 25-year-old three-time major winner had a chance late in the day to stick around for the weekend thanks to a furious rally down the stretch.
After a sloppy bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course, the par-4 12th, where he hit a poor approach and three-putted from 40 feet, and another on 15, Spieth bounced back with a pair of birdies on each of his next two holes.
On the par-3 17th, he had a good look at another after sticking his tee shot to inside 10 feet. But the putt slid by. Needing eagle on the par-5 18th, Spieth drove into the rough and missed the green left with his second, settling for an up-and-down birdie that left him with one stroke too many.
“For not playing well at all and being on the bad end of the draw, to miss the cut by one is reassuring,” he said. “I also love the way we fought back there at the end. That was fun.”
What won’t be fun, though, is a weekend off and more questions than answers when it comes to the state of his game.
“The frustrating part is I had two controllable moments where I would’ve made the cut [without bogeys] on 12 and 14,” said Spieth, whose last victory came at the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. “It was decision error to be too aggressive on the putt on 12, and then I could have played [my approach to the] right and made par on 14 very, very easily.
“You think you have to do more than you have to do. It’s like back to playing a U.S. Am qualifier. You think you have to go lower than you do. Just never know where birdies are going to come. It's a learning experience, but I'm tired of learning experiences though.”